Empathy, Form, and Accessibility: 3 New Tenets of User-Centered Design

by | Feb 23, 2021 | Blogs

User-centered design (UCD) is an iterative design approach in which, in each step of the design process, designers concentrate on the users and their needs. In UCD, design teams include users throughout the design process to develop highly functional and affordable products for them using a range of research and design techniques. To avoid UX issues, testing is done by users, and feedback is taken from them. 

Consider an example of Be My Eyes, in which designers can use technology to enhance the lives of all users and no matter how they might interact with the product.

Designing for better lives

User-centered technology has few things in common: a commitment to empathy, a form that follows function, and thoughtful accessibility features. Here’s how each one can be designed into your next design:

Map out your users’ emotions

Before designing anything or writing a single line of code, keep in mind the things like for whom you are creating for? What actually motivates them? What will they think after using your product? Nearly three-quarters of consumers expect businesses to produce valuable goods and consider the needs and desires of those products. Great designers of user interface realize that the closer they can recognize those unseen powers of power, the more they can create something on an emotional level that interacts with users. Try to use empathy mapping and user interviews to understand and anticipate user needs. In most cases, we learn that we don’t know our users nearly as well as we thought we did at the start of the activity.

Use form as a function shepherd

In any product, aesthetics matter, but they should serve a purpose beyond looking good. To direct the user to the correct feature, use the form. This mechanism is known as affordance in perceptual psychology. For starters, a coffee mug doesn’t need a user manual. Its shape alone makes it clear that it is designed to be picked up by the handle, which provides the purpose of preventing the ceramic heated by scalding coffee from being burned.

Think about whether each aspect of your item offers clues to the overall purpose of the product. Digital buttons are an excellent place to start. Do they look like they should be tapped on your app or web to navigate elsewhere? Is their destination unclear even though they are attractive? Conduct qualitative usability testing before going live to ensure end-users get the message from the design choices. Invite users to complete a task and watch how they communicate with your concept naturally.

Make your design more accessible

Take out your user testing next time you’re designing. Consider what features the design can enable users to have, such as language preferences, text-to-speech services, or compatibility with the computer. For users in rural areas or users who can’t afford smartphones, even a lack of Wi-Fi is always fair game. Creating an itinerary feature that remains available to users offline when synced once, the TripIt app solves a persistent pain point in travel tech. Here are some essential tips to make your design accessible:

  • Provide the foreground and background with great contrast.
  • To convey details, do not use color alone.
  • Ensure that it is easy to find interactive features.
  • Provide navigation solutions that are simple and reliable.
  • Ensure the elements of the type have connected marks.

Conclusion

Not all communicate in the same way with technology. Not everybody has five senses or the abilities of a UX designer to handle interfaces. But those people also need to be reached by technology goods. It has been said before, but it bears repeating: by concentrating on the needs of consumers, designers can create genuinely life-changing products.

 

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